Suffix -ed

Use -ed in a compound adjective when you’re describing modification to an existing object:
walnut-stained cabinets
a granite-topped buffet
The cabinets and the buffet were there before the stain was applied or the granite was placed.

When you name an integral quality, however, don’t use -ed:
nine-pane windows
a barrel-vault ceiling
There was no window until the panes came together. The ceiling was built as a barrel vault; it wasn’t built flat and then vaulted.

Note that this rule applies to compound modifiers. A single word in a similar construction often requires the -ed:
paned windows
a vaulted ceiling

Although -ed is dropped in many adjectives according to BHG style, several decorating words retain the -ed in order to maintain clarity. For example: striped, checked, and dotted. However, if used as a noun to describe a fabric or wallcovering, use stripe.
The curtains are available in a stripe or a check.

*No -ed (added 5.5.14)


Problem rules and words
Easily confused words
Suffix -ed

Back to BHG Stylebook Table of Contents

Comments are closed.